Time

He was wondering, just now, whether other people, supposedly whole people, spent as much time thinking about themselves, as in like an evaluative manner. The whole process was like a cosmically immense gyred pathway; although, he supposed, it ended here, since he had just murdered his wife, so was pretty much a bad person. If a good person murders a person, he becomes a bad person. At least life would be simpler now.

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He was sitting by the river waiting for the authorities to respond to her 911 call. Guessing that the average response time was about 25 minutes out here, unless police had just happened to be cruising around nearby. He figured he would be considered armed and dangerous, but had already tossed the revolver into the river, and intended to go peacefully. Could smell her blood on his hands and clothes. She had looked peaceful, after.

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It was a spot on the river that was quite loud. Rocks and ledges impediments to flow, the water’s constant cursing at the high, hard curved, carved granite bank. Seemed unfair that not all drops of water comprising the river got to enjoy the extreme cataracts; the water at the inside of the turn was shallow, placid. Did it choose that life? Will it always hug the shore, eventually finding its way to the ocean, peacefully, mildly? All water finds its way to the ocean, eventually.

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He supposed it was how essential water was to life that drew people to contemplate beside its meanderings. A fluid composed of metaphors, compelling and calming and slightly hypnotic. Rivers held answers. He could jump in now and float away and batter himself against rocks and get caught in a hole at the bottom to be spun around for hours like a front loading washer until the flow dropped tomorrow and the river spat him out blue and torn and free safe away. In the after.

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If time is only a constraint of experiencing the all and a constraint imposed by consciousness, then he should be able to free himself of that constraint by compelling his consciousness to ignore time. To be in time is to be floating in a river from one place to another and to be out of time is to remove oneself from the river and step back and view the river as it is and the all that surrounds it. In which case he could casually stroll along the bank upstream to before the moment where he forgot he was a human and gave in to animal passion and could convince his bobbing self as it passed that spot again to skip the double homicide, eddy up in a motel near town, drink a bottle of whiskey and piss away a couple hundred bucks on stud poker. He was a rational person and would listen to himself. But now the valley was pulsing purple on the arrival of the law and time continued forward and would from now on take a much longer route to the ocean.

 

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Mud

If it is a part, it is a piece, and it is a maybe long-rambling but yet essential component.  And dry but florid, shallow but reaching, a part of the composite of being.  This dryness:  I am alone.  Extended: I do not conceive of myself as a part of the company of others even while engaged.  This shallow: I abhor other human beings.  Reaching: I lack the ability to fully engage and identify and consort with sentient beings of my specific taxonomy.  

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It’s silly, though.  I don’t not not do these things.  I’m fairly adjusted (I think).  The wind brings over these clouds, and this heavy mist, and the dreary over-saturated wet, and it gets soggy, heavy.  My boots are heavy.  My head, bowing down, is heavy.  My feet slide in the mud.  My torso heaves, contracts, extrapolates our balance, corrects and steadies.  I am upright.  My tracks are larger than usual, though. Gravity is stronger today.

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The truth of this world is that it is a scoot.  Scoot here, there.  There are no solid tracks.  The path you lay before you, it will not be. The rain will come, you will slide.  You will scoot from side to side.  You will scramble.  You will grab a hold of things which have no tether and they will come undone.  Grasping, gripping, sliding, falling, again at the base with strange vegetation in your hand.  It is the way of things and how we build.  Because we only know how to build because we know how not to build.  And we do not build on mud.

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Swell

It isn’t so much that I’ve nothing to say.  It’s muted.  I give it no sounding.  There is this terrible arrhythmia to the human pulse that I have my finger pressed upon, and my teeth clench, throbbing through my jaw, but silence.  A scream as if in space.  No medium for sound, the vacuous echo of breath in my skull.  Much of life doesn’t make sense to me.  I don’t understand people.  I don’t understand anger, and yet it is the deepest well of my psyche.  I am too rational for anger, but there it is, pumping up in arterial spurts and poisoning the ocean.  Silently.

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Anger is this thing that exudes from me rhythmically, possession…release, possession…release, possession…release.  It is the thrumming of a moderate life, combed out to lay straight and oriented and generally aligned to appear orderly.  But it is the cordage on the loom the shuttle sails through.  It carries the color, the love, fear, energy and lethargy, the tapestry of my life is built upon anger and my anger is knotted in.

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It is this weird thing to think about this part of me.  Others don’t seem to see it.  It is an invisible rug I lie upon, insulated, I suppose, from something.  It is furtively inside me, changes the sound of my tread with its weight.  It comes and it goes but is somehow ever present.  And as I tilt forward swaying when it builds and fills me and changes my center of gravity and my face is maligned with the bruise blue storm of it there like a bobber or a leaf or a tiny boat at sea I float, desperate, hauling on lines or just hanging on.  It is a squall at flood tide and rips and batters but retreats, and the wreckage is safe in the sand.  It swells and falls and froths and spills across my feet and sprays against my back and it is hell and it is wet but it ends.

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Dan, Demonslayer

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This is the second night in a row you’ve woken at precisely 1:20.  You knew before you looked at the clock.  Woke from dreams of dislodged ice dams, raging frigid waters, the floating remains of porcupines, friends lost.  Awoke to fear.

Awoke to a familiar fluttering.  A gathering and folding of darkness in the corners like great heavy wings.  Recall walking home from the house of your best friend as a child, two doors down, so much further at night.  You broke into a trot when you reached the road, then a full sprint as you felt it fluttering behind your neck.  there was no time to turn and look at it.  Safety lay in the wedge of light on your house’s stoop, and even then you did not face it.

Yesterday, somebody in your house made note of it.  Dreams have been sweaty, clenched.  Your dog seemed uneasy.  There is a rhythmic, undulating hum that accompanies the whoosh of the forced air, and the gnarled branches of a lone oak clatter against themselves outside. 

You’re awake, in the dark, acutely aware that your dog’s water dish is dry.  That feeling in your chest?  Like your heart has come untethered and is caroming upwards banging ribs as though to plug and stop your breath?  That is the demon, fluttering again against the nape of your neck.  Stand and breath.  Turn and face it.  

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Marzipan

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If he was honest, he’d like to fuck her, just once, a little roughly, from behind. He wasn’t really attracted to her, she had hard lines to her face, was pushy. After all, she was the one who knew how to make marzipan. He knew space. How to make it, how to use it. When he came in he turned any space into something resembling an exploded version of the old video game tetris, like if you were to turn the room on its side the components would crash neatly against one wall and evaporate into a high score, his commission. A good grip on that large round ass, the side of her face pressed deep into the mattress, her pudgy hand overboard braced against the floor, maybe a handful of her hair gripped tight against her scalp, her body arranged to his satisfaction. The job wasn’t going as planned, she was using him mostly as hired muscle, having him move tables and display cases back and forth across the increasingly scuffed linoleum. In the end though if it resulted in some configuration roughly matching his design it would be easier to extract the contractually negotiated price, even though the contract clearly stated that upon completion full recompense was due regardless of whether the client followed his design fully.

 

She hired him because he had an excellent track record and great references. Most businesses he worked on were retail shops and restaurants, small kitschy bodegas and the like. His alterations typically resulted in a four to eight percent increase in overall revenue. But he knew that there were always those jerks that thought anybody could do his job, that it was non-work, a sham. Ms. Marzipan was starting to give him that feeling, and he could sense a struggle. Outside the long threatening snow had just begun sifting dryly down, swirling lightly over the parking lot. Two large windows at the front of the shop gave out the lot and the surrounding thick suburban sprawl, a strip of highway with mini-commerce centers hanging off like hungry ventricles in a fractal pattern for eight full miles, so dense with all imaginable sorts of business that it was impossible to tell where one town ended and another began. Like, if you really needed some marzipan, this was the place to go. Because that happens.

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Fuck it. Breathe in, breathe out. The things that change and the things that stay the same are the same things. There is no difference, no delineation, alteration is both constant and nonexistent. If that seems like meaningless tripe it’s because it is and that’s the entire fucking point. Because in this world there is no true causality, causality would imply affect, and there is no affect. There is no control or do or even free thought or free will, it is only the tightly scripted machinations of the universe drawing down the coil, hanging blindly on the end of a pendulum which swings ever lower at each snap of the escapement. Truly there is no weight to this display case as this display case does not truly exist except in the mind of some drooling dreaming being outside the confines of space and time who digests our troubles like simple sugars and grows fat on the misery of the world. Watching me drag it across the nauseating pattern of the linoleum floor for the fourth fucking time in as many fucking hours like I was the cursor of the mouse gripped in her pudgy sweaty hands.

 

It’s fair to say sometimes that the things people do are not the things they are really cut out for, and even in the things which exactly fill the mold of their life as a fluid fills its container there is room for dissonance and distress, since the terrible reality of this world is that all things must be terrible and cruel, and that cruelty unabashedly employs joy to highlight its mastery of our fate. What, because marzipan occupies some priority role in some minority cultural outpost in a country which does its best to swallow cultures and shit out something uniform and absolute? Like her shit doesn’t stink? Like it’s fucking tempered by herbal concoctions and a strict schedule and you couldn’t hold a match to her farts and burn down a barn?

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Being the kind of guy who can seriously and effectively arrange space to the point where it is a marketable talent means that you are also the kind of guy who has a constant stream of alterations and arrangements shooting through your brain and so you have also developed the ability of pouring two fingers of bourbon while kicking the shoe off your foot with the toe of the other. You can hold the bottle in one hand and spin the cap off with your thumb and watch it bounce chaotically across the counter and you’ve also finally realized one day that there’s no fucking point to retrieving it even if you can do so in a masterful manner, since why cap something soon empty. And even though you know that the glass itself is sort of a moot point you like the cut in it, the shape, and the balanced weight that doesn’t try to sling whiskey at you like drinking straight from the bottle does. Since it is suppression you drink two fingers at a time, an aid to this is the ritual and a well made rocks glass is something to hold up to the light and turn as far as the wrist will go, admiring the world as bathed in amber and refracted and distorted and generally sent askew.

 

And reality can be sent asunder and swept into curious little piles spaced evenly across the broad expanse of buckled hardwood floors, and little bits of it will catch in the seams and be forever filler in something both finished and not, and you can hold the empty glass up like a lens and examine them, the piles, and determine the composition. And if you jot this down on a pad of paper it will undoubtedly be a profound and amazing realization which will decompose into jibberish by morning. But by morning you are again ready to take space and things and place them within it and manage and control and cede that control as you become once again a simple but highly paid minion for people who think they’ve got it all figured out.

 

This thing, it is not light, it is dense, it must be since it sinks to the bottom of the glass and even as you drain the glass and hold it over your extended tongue to try and capture it, the thing, it must be so dense that it sank through the bottom of the glass and the bottom of tomorrow so you must try tomorrow to capture it once again. It is dense because it is everything joined together in a point that draws all light and reason bends around it. It is dense but it does not fall out of your life.

 

Tomorrow it will not be marzipan. Tomorrow it will be synergy at a cubicle corp that does God knows what and the products are forms. Tomorrow will be a breeze since tomorrow nobody will have any fucking clue whats going on or what the point is, but somebody will step up and order his own minions around, and the cubicle residents with gather up their walls around them like gaudy prom dresses and slide them around to his satisfaction. Tomorrow will be a breeze, and it will not stink of marzipan, and he can think of things which float.   

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First Place, Last Place

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Atrophy.  Pins and needles as the enveloping fog slowly disperses.  A long-standing standard of measurement finds no bite, hanging without regard to physics in the voids of consumption, a mind not unlike swiss cheese.  It is early in the day and midway through life and way too late for change.  Decisions have piled up like rubble behind and the dust raised congeals in the lungs in wads.  So forward, forward.

There is that pinpoint of bright I’ve clamored towards, unknown promise pricking my pupil and pulsating like the light from long ago, a possibly dead star but my only reference for steerage in an arid, empty realm.  So toward, toward.

I linger, touch my lips to walls where a spring of caustic liquid trickles.  It burns but is wet, and I promise my life to it, and to the next spring and the next.  Stations and stanchions, fueling but dwelling but filling but loitering, places which aren’t the end [but] (and) (un)necessary on this journey.  And I say to myself, they are on the road, just off the road, and sow the road, the road, at minutest increment.

And so the road in its vague delineation guides me, convex, though it lays to trouble me off its path; I know the narrow apex is the straightest way, convex but it conveys me, vexes me but stays me, and otherwise I’m skidding scree or roughly tumbling to another complex way station and its fractured aftermath.  At which point: Atrophy.

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20 Knots

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It is a teeth clenched whiskey drenched failing peripheral vision night.  In their slow swing, the stars, softened by suburban light, veered briefly into lines by the merest tilt, do gently dot.  I press this knot against marlinespike to break and roll and work the bond away.  It is piled, and the source, the standing end, every bight is the same, a long night from coil, a wretched mess of fray.

And yet I work, and yank and pull and splay.  This tiny knotted world could be spread for miles on the ill-kept lawn, a yawning sprawling web, twisted yarns wrapped in knitted nylon casing.  There is no source to seek, there is only the unraveling.  No end-point except a straight line, to be caught again and hauled and coiled and kept with a gasket, and hung for some time on a timber until usefulness can again apply.  But there is no use in this tangle, and this tangle is my work.

Here are knots I did not tie, unwieldy, staggering, grotesque folds of line with no meaning.  Here are the half-slung hitches I attempted to preempt the mess, here are kinks where others, weaving, working with meaning, bent their intent to my progress.  Here are the whorls kept in a pack for too long and allowed to wander.

It is nocturnal work, to yank and pull and wonder, and tease out each trailing thread.  And spread it here in the grass, in the yawning dawn, the damp taut chattering morning, and watch it contract and ball, and pick my starting point for tomorrow.

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